Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) is a common occurence, and does not always indicate a serious health issue. However, it does bear watching. If you or someone you know has an arrhythmia, make an appointment with our Miami clinic. We can diagnose the underlying cause, and decide whether and how to treat it.
- tachycardia: an accelerated heart rate (more than 100 beats/minute in the resting heart)
- bradycardia: a slow heart rate (below 60 beats/minute in the resting heart)
- supraventricular arrhythmia, which begins in the atria, or upper chambers of the heart
- ventricular arrhythmia, which begins in the lower chambers, or ventricles
- bradyarrhythmia: slow heart rate caused by a problem in the sinoatrial (SA) node, atrioventricular (AV) node, or HIS-Purkinje network
An arrhythmia can be caused by a number of factors, including high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy (changes in heart muscle), valve disorders, electrolyte imbalances involving sodium and potassium in the blood, injury from a heart attack, or other medical issues.
Temporary irregular heart rhythms sometimes occur in normal, healthy patients. In these cases, it may be caused by certain medications, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, diet pills, or emotional stress.
- electrocardiogram or EKG
- Holter monitor
- stress test
- cardiac catheterization
Once the arrhythmia is diagnosed and a cause is determined, there are a number of treatment options. Sometimes all that’s needed are simple lifestyle adjustments such as quitting smoking, cutting back on alcohol consumption, or limiting the intake of caffeine and other stimulants.
Some patients may require more invasive therapy such as electrical cardioversion or ablation. Other patients may need a pacemaker implanted.
Basically, arrhythmia means that the heart’s electrical system is malfunctioning, either temporarily or on a regular basis. In most cases, treating the underlying disorder will revolve the symptoms.